British Columbia’s tourism industry is warning that a proposal to ban unnecessary travel between provinces could be devastating for a sector that is already life sustaining.

Prime Minister John Horgan said Thursday the province is seeking legal advice on the measure in order to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

The Tourism Association of BC claims that it has commissioned its own legal opinion arguing that such a ban would likely be unconstitutional.

The thorny issue of a travel ban and its impact on Whistler

The thorny issue of a travel ban and its impact on Whistler

“The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Canadians’ mobility rights are among the most cherished rights of citizenship that are fundamental to citizenship,” the group said in a news release.

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“The government must justify any violation of these rights by demonstrating that they are carefully tailored to address a real problem that other health interventions that do not limit the rights of Canadians cannot achieve.”

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That position was vindicated by the BC Civil Liberties Association, which told Global News Morning Saturday that the province would need strong evidence to restrict Canadians’ rights to travel.

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“We believe Canadians have this right, this constitutional right to move freely within the country, we have mobility rights according to the charter,” said program director Cara Zwiebel.

“All rights in the Charter are restricted, but those restrictions must be reasonable. So much will depend on what evidence animates the government in making this decision. “

Prime Minister Horgan says the British Columbia government will seek legal advice on non-essential travel

Prime Minister Horgan says the British Columbia government will seek legal advice on non-essential travel

The tourist board argued that individual behavior, not travel, was the problem. It also says it did everything it could to work with the province on COVID-19 protocols and health and safety measures.

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On Saturday, Whistler, one of the meccas for visitors to British Columbia, had long lines for chairlifts, although operators said it was in part due to those health and safety regulations.

Skiers have to be two meters apart, while chairlifts and gondolas are restricted to household cohorts, which slows down the strain.

Spokesman Marc Riddel said this weekend, the Martin Luther King holiday in the United States, the slopes would normally be filled with American tourists.

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“In a traditional year this place would have been full because the snow conditions were second to none,” he said, adding that the resort advises people to obey all public health regulations – including those against non-essential travel.

“It’s a good balance for us. What we can control is the mountain experience of staying open. It’s important to our people… it’s certainly important to the community and companies that rely on us to stay open, ”he said.

In Whistler Village, global news cameras captured an eerily quiet street scene, and some local businesses said their sales were down as much as 70 percent.

Click here to play the video.  'COVID-19 tests cause confusion among air travelers'

COVID-19 tests cause confusion among air travelers

COVID-19 tests cause confusion among air travelers

Despite its serene appearance, the community has recently received reports of an increase in visitors outside the province from places like Ontario and Quebec, where COVID-19 cases far exceed those in British Columbia.

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There is no clear timetable for the province to deliver its legal opinion on the proposed ban.

The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, however, suggested it likely wouldn’t fly Thursday, noting that there are too many ways to enter the province.

“It’s hard to see how that can be done,” she said.

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